Thursday, March 24, 2011


It would be nice if I could be considered a "great" grandma, but, Oh, well...

However, yesterday I had the blessing of going
to the ultrasound with my Bhutanese granddaughter and her husband... they consider me their grandmother, since we became "family" when they arrived from Nepal in October. Well, they are having their first baby, a girl, in mid-August. I'm supposed to be at the birth, too. Not a frequent occurrence in my life, because I'm not a "medically-oriented" person, but I will be there, for certain sure. [His parents are here; her mom and dad are in Nashville.]

Just thought I'd share this.... what joy to my heart! And, if you notice how small they are, I expect the baby will be very small.

[I also have a grandchild arriving in mid-September from the other family member, Nar... am supposed to attend the ultrasound for her around April 20th. My, my, my...]


A few weeks ago, besides reading Revelation -- 5 months of reading and re-reading at this point -- the Lord laid John 17 on me. I am supposed to read it daily. Haven't been perfect in my follow-through, but am trying to become obedient. [Actually, I begin at the last verse of John 16, because it leads into this so clearly.] I read it in the Amplified Bible, which is my usual source.

Well, recently, what's been jumping out to me and hitting my heart has been in verses 11, 21, and 22. It says more than one way that Father and His Son are One and that the plan, goal of bringing Jesus into our lives and the Word of
Truth, is to make us ONE as they are ONE. That Believers will be ONE.

How does that work in our present world? Very frustratingly, at least as I view it. Do we have to agree on every tiny bit and piece? No. We have different personalities and ways of life and backgrounds, so we see things differently sometimes. The disciples and apostles connected to Jesus from the beginning saw things differently. And there were conflicts and
arguments and heavy discussions. Acts is filled with some of that, as well as some of the other NT Letters. Much was fixed for a while, it seems. And then the battles began again.

Today? My heavens! We have so many theological inputs, opinions, visions, views. So much difference, especially when we consider that social/cultural literacy has increased way over the top in the past 150 years, drawing people together or tossing them apart. And so much that has led to extremism in terms of being "One" with the Lord. I'm not even going to throw in the v
arious denominations or branches or anything similar -- whether Catholic or Protestant. Not going to list the fights. Uh, uh!!! As a history buff and spiritual researcher, I can honestly say that even denominations considered radical/ungodly today, laid lives on the altar in the past as servants of our Lord in various places around the world. And some that were/are considered "not quite bright enough" by many others, laid their lives on the altar of our Lord, also.

What do I want? I want to be part of the "ONE"... I want us to stick to the basic Truth as Jesus presented it in John 17... His heart for us and His heart for the Father and the Father's heart for us. I don't want to moan, and groan, and complain. I want to help break down these barriers and walk with Jesus' and my Father.

Do all people see alike? No. Here's one small e
xample. My dear friend/sister, Susie, that most of you know, has been in my life for 50 years. We come from extremely different backgrounds. We have walked with the Lord in different situations over the years. However, the basics have been the same and the growth in Him and together has been a blessing. When we don't agree, we don't fuss. We discuss, sometimes, but usually we simply allow the Lord to draw the differences into a comfort zone, correct what needs to be, and we don't become "nananana-ish" towards each. [The photo is us with our hands holding a rock together... because we base our lives on The Rock.]

As the world increases in stress and complication... locally and globally... we must turn to John 17 and be ONE in the Father and Son, whatever that requires in our lives to adjust and fit into that Glorious Mix.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


A friend gave me a prayer shawl for Phurba today, so I popped to their house to make sure one of his brothers was home to interpret what I was going to share about it. Since the surgery was to happen tomorrow, I really didn't want to fail to get the shawl to him. [The photo has his brother, Bijay, one of my dear boys, and their Mom, one of the smiliest people I've ever seen, even in the midst of great stress. Amazing.]

WELL, the surgery has been postponed again. Now scheduled for April 6. This has happened a number of times since November. They arrived from Nepal in early September, and the brain issue has been gone over and over and over again. Creighton is a very good medical center, so I know they aren't just being sloppy.

Just thought I'd pass this along. I'd love it if the prayer shawl, that was prayed over significantly by these Spirit-empowered women, would pour the healing on this dear one.

Sunday, March 20, 2011


I wish I had photos... some folks took them last week, but so far none have been sent to me. I was too busy to take any, as you will understand.

March is Missions Month -- Hearts for the Harvest -- at our church. I was on the missions board for a couple-plus years, but I am NOT administratively oriented. At all. Become so bored I can't even think straight. I finally just told them that I trusted that their financial choices and other decisions would be godly and done with integrity-- and I was out of there.

However, I've always been missions oriented, since shortly after coming to the Lord nearly 45 years ago. Have studied and taught and studied some more -- and been one in Uganda -- and am one here for the Bhutanese and Karen now, right up the street.

Last year the Lord dropped an idea into my life and I put on a show based on Ed Sullivan... an MC focused variety show. The music/songs and MC dialogue, skits and puppet show and all the other elements were in my lap-- either writing or choosing. It was an intense time for me, but I thoroughly enjoy that type of "God-job".

Well, in August as I was driving home from the NW across the Rockies, I was listening to a CD and heard the Steven Camp song, "Where are the Heroes Now?" and it slammed me that that would be what the next show could be if the missions board was willing to let me do it. They were.

ANYHOW, the blessing? In this whole process I had hoped the Mission Team would truly understand where my heart was with this and the heroes focus. Well, I received a card from the Missions Team...

Dear Joanne,

Thanks so much for writing, producing, and acting in the Hearts for the Harvest Variety Show.

The theme was very appropriate and you wove so many different aspects into it.

The fact that you did this in the midst of your many other ministries truly shows that it was a work of God and He was honored in it.

Please extend our thanks to all who participated in this great show.

I was overjoyed with this blessing. Believe me, it was a hard-working experience and I had hoped beyond belief that people's hearts would be touched. [I'll probably be posting a couple pieces of it one of these days... the main hero focused on was Eric Liddell, so you might find that interesting. Just want to keep hearts and minds open to how the Lord led people like him, buried in huge difficulties, and how He is preparing us for our future, both individually and culturally. My usual intensity is pouring forth... can you tell??]

Saturday, March 19, 2011


Need to fill in some gaps that have filled my life this week.

A few weeks ago I posted about Phurba. Well, in spite of the direction things were hoped to go, he will have brain surgery next Wednesday, the 23rd. The expectation is still that he will no longer have any memory. I guess that's OK on his part, but not for the rest of us. Much intense sadness prevails. I'll show up at the hospital mid-morning so I can follow through with the family, but am just hoping/praying that the Lord's hand will be very much a part of this. It has only been a short time ago that his parents and brothers [the ones I'm connected to, anyhow] have left Buddhism and turned to Jesus. Phurba, too, as far as he can express himself.

NEXT: Last Monday, my friend, Marge, and her hus
band were returning from a P.T. appointment for her arms and they were turning from one of our main roads onto another one that would lead to our area, and were crashed into by someone either running a red light or not seeing them... I've never had that story straight. The car hit the driver's side and Larry's airbag ballooned. His glasses were knocked off and he had a couple of small nicks on his arm. Marge... YES, wearing a seatbelt... was smashed into the dash. She told me later that night that she had thought she was dying b/c she couldn't breathe. The results: 4 broken ribs, cracked sternum, broken knee and various cracks in both legs. LOTS and lots of pain. When I visited her at the hospital on Wednesday they had shifted her out of the bed for a bit of time. She was excited to see out the window. Last night Dave and I went to see her at the rehab facility... and the anticipation is that it will be at least two months before her body is healed enough that she can get home because her arms were damaged before the accident so she won't have the strength to get around the house in a walker. Her room is an example of love: a number of flowers, especially her favorites, and lots and lots of visitors, and she's giving and receiving lots and lots of kisses.
ME: [I'd post a photo of myself with the look of extreme annoyance, but a few of you have already seen that on my face and heard it in my voice.] I've had a number of tests over the past few months. As a result I will be having esophageal surgery sometime between now and the end of summer -- whenever I can fit it into my schedule. Since they say the recovery will take a few weeks, I don't want to have travel schedules on my plate ... and I want to have the Bhutanese trained well enough that they can help take care of my house and yard if need be. [That's the benefit of teaching them how to do theirs!] However, my biggest fuss over this past couple years has been loopy dizziness that hits suddenly. This week, while helping with cleaning at Laxmi's [the mom in my previous post] house, I became so dizzy I started falling around again and couldn't even walk the 2 blocks home. SO now I'm being sent to a neurologist. That appt is the 30th. I don't know what they will require after that. I'm leaving town for the Northwest on April 25th and will be traveling in and out of our area until the end of June. However, even though driving isn't an issue, a number of other movements can be. Just thought I'd let you know.

I really do miss some of you much... piles and piles. Need to catch up with you, but so much stuff hits me. For instance, I just walked into Laxmi's house to see if any could go to church with me tonight for our Saturday night service, and realized the house isn't warm enough and found out that the furnace is off. They wouldn't have known why they were cold. So, now I've called the management company and need to bug them to come and take care of this... just on and on it goes.


Yesterday it was airport time again. Nar's family, that arrived 3 weeks ago, was just added to. Nar's Mom, Laxmi, had a brother and his family [wife and two kids] arriving. She grabbed my arm a few days ago and asked, in Nepali, which I can't understand at all and am grateful to have a couple of her daughters interpret fairly easily, if I would take her to get her brother. I agreed, hoping it wouldn't be late at night.

Yesterday, just after noon, they reached Omaha. As I was standing aside and planning to take photos of the family, Laxmi grabbed my hand and pulled me to the family. She took her sis-in-law's hand and pressed our hands together... I guess I've been adopted. Then she put me in the midst of the photos.
I dropped the family members off in another part of town where they were going to be fed by other family members who have been here for several months [the newly arrived brother's Mom and other brothers]. [I don't have the newly present names down, yet... barely have Nar's family from 3 weeks ago planted in my head and now there're more and more!! Believe me, it's a challenge!]

Today, I will be going up the street to Laxmi's house and find out how things went yesterday.

So much is happening on a regular basis that I can hardly stay ahead of the game. For instance, some less-than-kind refugees in the local apt complex have been throwing garbage -- including tires -- into the yard of a lady up the street and she can't clean it out b/c of her arm problems. So, I have to arrange for a couple Bhutanese or Burmese guys to help me clean it out, have to take the tires to a local tire shop a couple blocks away, and pay for the tire disposal. One of the needs is to teach the various refugee families that it's not OK to dump their garbage in this lady's yard. DUH!! And will I seem to be a patient and kind woman? Don't think I can pull that off. Maybe the Holy Spirit can place some control, though.

Anyhow, have another post to pop on about another serious event this week, that is thoroughly unrelated to this stuff.

[There are a couple ladies from my church stepping in to help me now... and a couple men; maybe in a few weeks/months, we'll be able to coordinate things and plan ahead, instead of just scrambling after the various crises and intense situations.]

Thursday, March 10, 2011


While hanging with the Bhutanese there have been comments re: bathrooms, etc. Mostly regarding them having to figure out how to use our fancy ones with different faucets and adjusting hot and cold. Also with different toilets and flushing handles.

It reminds me of a very funny challenge I had back
in February of '96, shortly before Dave and I returned to the States at the end of our missionary life in Uganda. I went on a trip with a short-term building team that had come from California. During our Ugandan life, Dave and I had always been working and helping and rarely had time for a side-trip or holiday. Dave wasn't able to go on this trip, but I was overjoyed to go. We rode in the back of a good-sized truck. There were about eight of us, plus the driver, Paul, the construction manager at the orphanage, who now lives in North Dakota. We went to Murchison Falls National Park. On the way, the truck bounced around on the rough roads, trying to avoid potholes, and wearing out our bodies as we tried to keep from crashing around on the truck bed.

We reached the park and nearly immediately took a boat ride on the Nile... lots of photos I'll post and share some day -- hippos, crocs, birds, wild ox, elephant, and other animals. However, that's not what I'm writing about this time.

Shortly after our arrival at the campgrounds, I needed to use a latrine. I'm usually pretty careful about its environment, but didn't have a lot of choice this time. I ended up in one that was surrounded by some bamboo walls and had a dirty dirt floor. I was able to push the door closed, which was a good deal, not always a satisfactory option. And there were just a few strips of wood to brace it up in several places.

WELL, I squatted and hurried -- not exactly a relaxing moment, EVER ... and then needed to reach out to brace myself to stand up. That is when I realized I was eyeball to eyeball with a large spider that blended quite well with the wood it was on. My brain began to rush around. How could I stand up? What could I safely touch? Would this spider jump into my hair? Should I move quickly or slowly? WELL... I was able to quietly and quickly stand by bracing my arms rather lightly on the side walls. [15 years later, older with weaker knees and much less ability to easily stand up, in a similar situation, I would be in real trouble!]

No, I'm not a spiders fan, but not as scared of them as other creatures. -- this one was large, but it wasn't a furry-looking venomous tarantula that spit into eyes [which Dave had to deal with once and, thank heavens, I wasn't needed at the time], so I was intense, but not terrified. A friend of mine told me that when she was in a latrine in Kenya she looked up and a cobra was in the thatch roof over her head. IF that had been me, and not Kathryn, you wouldn't know me... my snake-terror would have put me in the heart-attack realm.

Anyhow, when I'm not overly comfortable in certain bathrooms at airports, malls, rest areas, bus stations, or homes, I only have to remember some of my events --- had several uncomfortable-to-say-the-least latrine experiences in Uganda -- and that helps me keep a reasonable perspective.

Since I was chuckling about this earlier today, I thought I'd share it with you and see if you'd chuckle, too. [Hope I haven't managed to offend anyone, but, oh, well....]

Monday, March 7, 2011


Just wanted to fill in the blanks for what's been going on this past two-plus weeks and why I've been forced to "disappear."

For the last two weeks I've been buried in helping Nar's family -- parents and 5 sisters -- that arrived on February 25th.

I was the main person during the previous w
eek in line of preparing the horribly filthy rental, including the results of lots of rats. And arranging for furniture and all the other items they needed... kitchen items, toiletries, sheets and towels, and on and on.

I'm in the spot of teaching them how to clean the kitchen, use the refrigerator properly, cook w/o damaging the stove, how to use the oven, scrub floors -- their floors at the camp were hard dirt. Things we all so take for granted.

Also, helping with English -- reading and writing -- so the girls -- mostly teens -- can be prepared to go to school here. The funny one: I had a couple gals over the other night and they watched "Singin' in the Rain". Of course they've never seen anything like that and they were laughing a lot at the dancing.

Singin' in the Rain Poster

m in charge of putting a Missions Month show on at church on Sunday evening... It's a Variety Show, based on Ed Sullivan, and I'm calling it "Heroes." I've written all of it... lots of participants. When this is over on Sunday evening, my adrenalin rush may slow a bit. [I'll post some of the photos, etc., next week when it's over.]

ALREADY, I've been to help in other ways next week. [For instance, Phurba, Nar's husband and the local Bhutanese pastor, needs me to prepare an office area in their apartment and be his secretary.]

[I think I need a small break!!!!]

Sorry to take so much time to explain, but just thought my friends would like a "catch up".

You are thought of often and loved a lot! I'm hoping to catch up with you folks, too, in the not-too-distant future.


Sometimes things become a surprise, maybe even a shock.

My Bhutanese daughter, Nar, was resting in her in-law
parents bedroom on Saturday and I went in to just love on her and pray for her. Her exhaustion is kicking in so strongly, especially since she became pregnant a couple months ago. She's always busy taking other refugees to medical areas, being an interpreter, and working full time at a local meat packing company [most of them work there]. AND being a wife with a son who just turned 9. She was married at 15 to a young man, Phurba, 18, and had Yogust [he always grins when I call him "Yogurt"] when she was 16. They arrived here in March, 2008. And they've been busy ever since, especially as he has become the local Bhutanese pastor.

OK... all of that to explain something. She had been in for an ultrasound on Friday. I assumed she'd never had one in Nepal and she sai
d it had happened when she was nearly ready to deliver her baby.

When people tell me stories like this, I often just have to shake my head at the horrible elements most of ne
ver even have to think about, even those of us who come from abusive or very intense backgrounds.

One day while at the refugee camp, her father-in-law, Ram, and another man, both drunk, began fighting
. The weapons? Rocks. Rocks were being thrown, and some of them sound as the size of boulders. Suddenly, she was hit by one, hurting her face [she still has a small scar near her eye] and smashing her stomach.

A hospital took her in and gave her an ultrasound -- a very rare occurrence in Nepal near the camp -- and forced the man who had been throwing stones at Ram to pay for Nar's physical care at the hospital and for the ultrasound.

Her son was born with no problems on February 28, 2002.

And, BTW, Ram is one of the most sparkling-eyed men I have ever seen. He turned from Buddhism to the Lord about 4 years ago, in his mid-40s, and, even though his English is pretty challenged after being here for nearly 2 years, he is one of the most God-loving people I've ever seen. [Ram and his wife, Dawa, were the first two Bhutanese the Lord dropped into my life last May 8th. I now have approximately 30 of their family members in my life, and it's increasing month by month as more arrive from Nepal. But they're wonderful. What a blessing.]